I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to “put away childish things”. Is it wrong for an adult to have a “childish” hobby? Like building Legos, for example. Or is it wrong if a hobby revolves around the acquisition of things? I.e: a professor of mine likes collecting Captain America comics, and my uncle used to collect Star Wars action figures . Are any of these things “wrong”? What about people who collect shoes, or anything else? Is it “bad” to do?
Let’s look at Paul’s words in context. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul wrote to the Saints at Corinth about what love is and what it means to be a charitable person. Paul extols charity, or what Moroni called “the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47), as the greatest of virtues.
In this context, Paul discusses a growing awareness of pure love. As we learn more about what it means to be truly charitable, we understand better, and our actions change:
“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
Then Paul illustrates this idea by talking about how children grow into their adult understandings. As children, they look at things in a childish manner, but when they grow up, they think about things with an adult mind:
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Similarly, as we grow into our understanding of pure, Godlike love, we leave behind our old, less correct ideas and embrace a better understanding.
I don’t think Paul was talking about Legos or gingerbread man collections. None of these things are “wrong” in themselves. Paul was trying to tell us that we need to come to understand love as our Father in Heaven understands love, and leave behind our old, “childish” understandings as we grow.